Thursday, December 31, 2020

Happy New Year

Well we have made it to the new year. Happy 2021 to all of our listeners around the world. It has been fun getting to know some of you and finding out where you are from. Along with our listeners in many of the states in the USA, we also have been fortunate to have listeners from 11 other countries around the world. I am amazed constantly at how we all can connect through the internet and this podcast. It is deeply appreciated that each of you take the time to check us out and listen to us. THank you all so much

We decided that this year we would like to get to know you more by starting our postcard club. We would like you to message us, either through the podcast or through our website at and tell us how you came to listen to us and where you are from and any other thing you’d like to share.

Leave us a postal address in the message. When we receive your message and address, we will send you an official authentic Minnesota postcard personally addressed to you from Solid Rock Minnesota. It is just a chance for us to connect on a personal level with each one of you that have been listening to our podcast this past year. 

There are no strings attached, we will not send any solicitation or requests for donations and we won’t keep your address unless you want to stay in touch with us. In fact, we will just send you a Minnesota postcard, with a USA stamp and delete your address. This is a thing that has been done in the Ham radio community for many years. A person will make contact with another radio operator and will receive what’s known as a QSL card with their call signs. Some operators have collected cards from around the world. 

Here is hoping 2021 will be a year full of goodness and kindness to our friends and neighbors around the world. Happy New Year and we will excited to hear from each and every one of you.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas

Hi, it is Sue from Solid Rock Minnesota wishing all of our family, friends, Blog

and podcast listeners a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

This year’s Christmas is very different from Christmas’ past. Many around the world  are in quarantine and lockdown as the Covid virus continues to wreak havoc worldwide. Many are not working and without an income. For many, just putting food on the table is a challenge. And there are many that for the first time, will be facing Christmas without a loved one sitting around the table with them.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you that the New Year will bring new hope. Hope that we will all soon be on the other side of Covid and the havoc it has caused our world. And hope that soon we can get back to a new normal we can handle and cope with.

For me, Christmas Eve has always been a special time, since I was a kid waiting for Santa Claus to come. As I have grown older, it has become more of an anticipation of newness; of changes that can bring joy to my life, and to the world. A moment of reflection of all that has passed by and all that is yet to come.

The song, Silent Night starts out, silent night, holy night-all is calm, all is bright. It reminds me of this Christmas Eve. Yesterday we had our first blizzard of the season. We got almost a foot of new fresh snow and 30-50 mph winds which made it impossible to see your hand in front of your face. It raged on for several hours. But this morning, the sun is out, the winds are calm and it is a crisp peaceful day after a stormy yesterday. New hope has arrived that we will make it through another day.

The grandkids were together and we recorded Silent Night the other day. As I watched and listened to them I started to once again think about that thrill of  hope that awaits us on Christmas morning. Our Covid weary world is in need of some hope and rejoicing. Merry Christmas, be safe and well.

Many Blessings to you.

Friday, December 18, 2020

The Tootsie Sisters

Last weekend an old friend of mine stopped up for a long overdue visit. It had been over a year since we had last seen one another. The time lapse had nothing to do with the Covid pandemic and the lockdowns and isolation we have been going through the past 10 months. But it had everything to do with daily life and time making its incredibly fast fleeting moments. Our last time together was at her sister’s cabin further up North about a year and a half ago. It had been a pre-planned event to meet up with her sisters and all of our spouses. It was a great day of pontoon rides, eating, soaking up the warm sun and laughing with all of them. When everyone else was busy chatting and looking at the cabin, my friend and I headed down to the dock and hopped on the paddle boat. We paddled out to the middle of the lake and just floated along towards the eventual shore. 

It was a chance to get away from everyone and have that visit that only the two of us could have and be meaningful. A chance to reminisce with each other about our wild teenage years and how we met. Out there on the lake where no one could hear us laughing so hard we were creating an echo we were reminded of the crazy teenage years and we laughed over all the things that got us in trouble when we were in High School.  Four years of an all girls’ Catholic High School had given so many stories and events to laugh over that day. I reminded her of how on graduation night,our principal, Sister Mary Eileen, handed me my diploma, shook my hand and whispered, “Saints be praised, we did it”. 

After High School, my friend and I applied for a job at the Minnesota State Fair as ticket takers at the entrance gates. We were the very first females to be hired into that position. It was 1976 and the State Fair had always been and at that time was still “the good old boys club”. When we showed up the first morning at 5:30, we were met by most of the all male crew giving us the stink-eye. We were told to go stand on the sidewalks and take tickets from the pedestrians walking in. We realized within minutes of taking the sidewalk that we were given the worst possible job available. Literally thousands of people walked by us throwing tickets our way in a pretty unorderly fashion. There was no method to the sidewalk madness and that day I am certain many people got into the fair without handing us their tickets. They'd be able to use them again or give them away or if they were smart, scalp them for a cheaper price outside the gates and hope to not get caught.

Eventually , when the rest of the crew realized we were OK, we got to work in the car lanes with the rest of them, which was quite a bit easier and more fun. We got to hop on the tour busses of the Grand Stand performers and let them in. Imagine the excitement when WIllie Nelson’s bus pulled into our gate. Although he wasn’t on the bus it was just way cool to see it. There were cases and cases of beer there and the faint smell of pot.

That first year, once that we proved ourselves OK to work with, we got the title of “The Tootsie Sisters” by our boss. And that name stuck with us for the next 20+ years we worked side by side for those 2 weeks at the Great Minnesota Get Together. 

TIme moved on and sometimes the State Fair would be the only time my friend and I would get a chance to see each other. We both were married and working other jobs during the rest of the year. We were both married and had been in each other’s weddings and we had kids that kept us super busy. Time just moved on and eventually got too busy to even work the State Fair.

Since this was a time before cell phones, texting and Facebook, we could go a few years without seeing each other. There would maybe be a Christmas card or word from other friends about each other. Occasionally we would meet up for lunch and catch up on life. And make the solemn vow to not be so long in getting together. But time kept pushing forward at an incredibly fast pace. Our kids were older and moving out, getting married and we were becoming grandmas. And then about 10 years ago came the news that her husband had fallen over in the back yard and had a stroke. Life changed so completely for my friend and her husband at that moment. He suffered some cognitive damage and no longer was able to help her in the ways she was accustomed to. All of a sudden my friend had to do all the major decision making, financial things and worst of all...she had to learn how to cook. She always had let her husband do that as he was so good at it. We did manage to talk on the phone a few times during his recovery time, but her life had just gotten double busy learning her new roles.

Over time, we’ve sent each other texts of encouragement, or silly memes or we will chat back and forth while at work and on breaks. Sometimes replies have been quick and few and far between, and other times texts have been lengthy with both of us needing to hear the others encouragement and take on life.

The past 4-5 years we have grown older and have realized that time isn’t standing still. We have become more intentional in trying to stay in contact with each other. When we do get a chance to visit, it is a special time for both of us. A chance to stop the craziness of our busy lives and laugh. Laugh at our past, laugh at our spouses and kids and grandkids, and mostly laugh at ourselves and where our lives have wound up. If someone back in 1976 told us we would both be happily married with kids and grandkids it surely would have had us laughing in disbelief.

As much as my friend has endured over the past decade since her husband’s stroke, she will acknowledge the sadness and loss of the man he was, and then put on an attitude of gratitude and find even the smallest thing to be grateful for. Once it was the fact that she was able to buy a complete ready for thanksgiving meal she didn't have to cook and make her family suffer while eating it.  She has teared up talking about the struggles with me, but never once has she had a pity party for herself. She is just that kind of person. She has a strong faith and just knows that these are the cards she’s been dealt and carries on with that inner strength she gets from her faith.

Our times together are still filled with fun and lots of laughter we share in the stories of our growing up days and early adult years and our current lives. We have over the years developed an inner quietness and peace between us that only her and I can understand. That day floating on the paddle boat on the lake, not a ton of words were spoken, but so much was understood between us. I guess that comes from over 45 years of just being real to each other and always being there even if it wasn’t in person. My friend and I have a friendship that has endured much, and even when we don’t see each other for years at a time, we are always able to pick up right where we left off. That truly is what I call a sacred friendship.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The Heart of the Home

I was recently sitting at the kitchen table with a mug of tea. I was  gazing out over the backyard and field beyond just contemplating life in general. Time continues to fly by and now, more than ever, I find myself thinking back on the years gone by. I’ve been thinking of the years gone by, where we are right now and what lies ahead for me and the Love of My Life as he nears retirement in the next several months. We are starting to make retirement plans for the future.

Sitting there, it dawned on me how many memories have been made around that rickety old kitchen table. There have been 4 generations at some point in time gathered around that  table. I can remember sitting at the table with my grandparents and my young kids chattering non-stop at them. And they listened intently and responded to each one of them. Those are some of my kids favorite memories also. Having a captive audience.

At that table, recipes had been handed down. I remember the last Christmas my mom was with us, we sat at the table rolling out the dough for homemade doughnuts. It was a family recipe that was her grandma’s.  We chatted  about so many different things, from being pregnant to the two of us fishing for Bullheads up at the cabin. To this day, I make those doughnuts at Christmas and think of that day with my mom. It is always a bittersweet moment.

Besides the usual cooking and eating at the table, family budgets were worked out. Decisions between buying a gallon of gas to get to work or a gallon of milk for breakfast cereal. There were times that the kids had hot cereal with a scoop of ice cream on it. To this day that is still how Malt-O-Meal is made around here. 

Heated discussions and all out arguments happened around the kitchen table, kids have been told they were “grounded for life” only to be reversed when cooler heads prevailed. While there were arguments at that table, it always ended with sitting around the table and resolving the arguments.

I think back to so many meals when the kids were younger; stories of how their days went in school. Stories in graphic detail of a kid who puked up their lunch in the cafeteria, who got in trouble, what teacher was cool and what one was mean. Typical stories around a table full of teenagers. One night, the 2 boys who were in high school at the time, were towering over me and hovering around in the way while I was trying to get supper going. They were eyeing each other and chuckling at some secret joke between them. When we finally sat down for supper and I got up to get something I saw it. They had dyed the top of their heads in the high school colors of black, bright red and white. It was homecoming week. We all had a good laugh on how I never caught it until they were sitting down. From that moment on, the short mom jokes began and continue to this day as the grandkids are starting to tower over me.

As the kids grew up and moved out, the table became the meeting place, the place where we would sit down and they would fill us in on their lives. There was exciting news of marriage proposals, pregnancies and adoptions. There was also news of sadness and sorrow of friends of theirs killed in war, miscarriages and relationship breakups. That table always allowed all topics to be discussed no matter how hard or difficult.

For some reason the kitchen table became the safe haven where the kids could sit down, maybe eat a meal or snack and spill their guts to us parents. So many life changing decisions have been made at that table. It is where our youngest daughter came home and sat down with us. She told us she had enlisted in the Air Force, much to my dismay and concern and outright protest. There was so much instability all over the world. I was afraid for her. That was 10 years ago.  For her it was the right decision. It is where she has made a career, met her Marine husband, and had a little girl 5 years ago. And that little one is giving both her parents a run for their money with her questioning important things in her world. That little one definitely keeps her parents on their toes and her mom grounded. I've realized my daughter has a daughter just like she was when she was little. And I love to watch the two of them together.

Recently several of the grandkids were sitting around the kitchen table chatting and laughing with each other. It was such a complete joy to see that generation #4 will carry on the family tradition of making the kitchen table the center of activities here at our table and in their homes around their tables. I eventually sat down with them and they were full of questions about when I was a kid and also had questions about their other grandma who died in a car accident years before they could have memories of her. We laughed and there were some unshed tears welling up and I realized this was one of those moments that will be cherished and put in the memory bank for a time when I may be sitting at the table alone.

Memories and life lessons have been passed around that old beat up table as much if not more than  Tater Tot hotdish. For our family whether there is food on it or we are just all crammed around it in chairs and on stools, it has always been and will continue to be the heart beat of our home now and for generations to come.